Fire Safety for People with Disabilities

Practicing proven fire safety precautions can greatly increase chances of survival for special populations such as those with disabilities, hearing impaired or visually impaired.Fire

It is necessary for people with physical, mental or sensory disabilities to be more cautious with regards to fire safety.  In the United Sates, about 18,300 individuals are injured and 3,500 individuals die in fires each year.  The risk of injury or death is greater for people with disabled people because of a decreased ability to react in an emergency situation like a fire. These injuries and deaths occurring due to failed escapes can be prevented. The U.S. Fire Administration has composed the following fire safety recommendations for those with special needs to help protect themselves, their loved ones and their homes in the event of a fire.

Be Fire-Safe Around Your Home:

  • Don’t overload electrical outlets or extension cords.
  • If you don’t have central heating, do not use your stove or oven to heat your home. Use properly maintained fireplaces/chimneys and or space heaters.
  • Sleep near a phone.  If a fire takes place, be ready to call your local emergency number.
  • When cooking, use a timer to remind you there is food in the oven.  Never leave cooking unattended, and do not approach an open flame with loose clothing.

    Install and maintain smoke alarms. They should be tested each month, and batteries should be replaced yearly. Special smoke alarms for people with disabilities are manufactured. For additional protection, install a smoke detector with an exterior strobe light or enroll in an emergency call system to summon help.

    Live near an exit.  If possible, live on the ground level of your building. Have a tested fire escape plan. Practice opening locked or barred doors and windows.  If you require the assistance of a walker or wheelchair, make sure you can exit through all doorways and that the necessary ramps and other accommodations are in place.

    Communicate your special needs with neighbors, building managers, and emergency providers.  Contact your local fire department’s non emergency line to notify them of your special needs and escape plan.  They may offer suggestions about your plan, a home fire safety inspection, and provide smoke alarm placement and maintenance recommendations.

    Fire stops with you!

    For more information about this and many other topics, you may contact the U.S. Fire Administration by visiting their website at or by phone at 301-447-1000.

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